Perth: The Commonwealth, which spans 54 countries with a trade network worth $3 billion, can tackle global challenges ranging from the financial crises to a changing climate, said British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Hague made the remark at the Commonwealth People's Forum on Thursday, a day when European leaders agreed to increase the eurozone's main bailout fund to one trillion euros as part of a package of measures to stave off Europe's spiralling debt crisis.
Hague is in Perth where the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was declared open by Queen Elizabeth II Friday.
Hague said, "Today the problems and threats we face are increasingly global in nature, from financial crises to a changing climate and the Commonwealth can help us to grapple with these issues."
"In a world that is more and more reliant on networks the Commonwealth is the ultimate network; spanning 54 countries, six continents and oceans and two billion citizens.
"It is a vast trade network worth $3 billion a year and has a rich web and latticework of over 100 civil society organisations, many of whom are here today," he added.